Widowhood is one of those life events that no one can really prepare for. You may think you’re ready, but when that happens it’s often a shock. And yet, life goes on. In the midst of your grief, you must find a way to continue living.
Mélanie, a young mother of two children, shares her story and how she was able to face this painful ordeal.
“Yes, life goes on. These are the words in which I sought comfort when my husband passed away unexpectedly. I found myself a widow at only 30 years old, with two young children to raise alone. Although it was not easy, I found the strength to know that I am not alone. There are millions of other widows who know exactly what I’m going through. In this article I will tell you my story of being widowed and how I learned to cope with the new normal. I hope my words will bring some comfort to other widows (and widowers) who find themselves in this situation.
On a sunny June day, I was sitting on the porch enjoying a cup of coffee when I got the call. My husband had been in a car accident, and he was dead. I was widowed at the age of 30. In the days and weeks that followed, I felt like I was living in a fog. I was doing the gestures of everyday life, but I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I was surrounded by my family and friends, but I felt so alone. Slowly, but surely, I started to put my life back together. I found comfort in my faith and in the knowledge that my husband would always be with me in spirit. I also learned to lean on my friends and family for support. Today, almost two years after his death, I am still grieving, but I am also living. I learned to cherish happy memories and find joy in the little things. And I know my husband would have wanted me to be happy.
Resume a new life after the death of a spouse.
It’s not easy to move on, but here are some ways to ease the pain and move on.
Express your emotions.
Young widows/widowers who have dependent children may find it more difficult to cope with the stages of bereavement. Having dependent children after the sudden death of a spouse can be a different emotional challenge.
It is not easy to take care of children while working and dealing with pain. The living spouse who finds themselves in this situation will struggle to find the hope or the energy to move on. He must be emotionally stable to support his children as they mourn the loss.
Repressing your emotions and not having time to grieve is unhealthy. The grieving process requires a great deal of emotional expression, so grieve and allow yourself to be vulnerable around the people you care about.
Relaunch your own life.
Finding a new direction to face the future can be a special joy. After the death of a spouse, a supportive family and a sense of accomplishment can become your psychic income.
Breathe new life into your life by leaving your mark. Start a non-profit group or get involved in meaningful volunteer activities. Try working with a local community foundation where you will feel closer and connected to those around you.
Widows/widowers who are at retirement age are already prone to health problems due to loneliness, as the loss of a spouse can lead them to depression.
You don’t have to go through the grieving process alone. Surround yourself with people who can help you. A support system made up of family, friends and support groups will help you get through this sad time.
You can make new friendships by sharing your experience. Join a book club or community activities with new people. Talk to someone you can draw strength from.
Foster an attitude that allows rebirth.
If you are experiencing complicated grief where normal grief does not occur, be patient. Give yourself time. The inability to come to terms with the death of a husband or wife can take months or longer.
Soon you will feel the sadness, anger, and fatigue fading away. You will begin to take an interest in others and the outside world again.
You will rejoice in the happiness of others instead of becoming embittered or saddened. This will be the sign of your rebirth. All of this will be a thing of the past. Don’t tell yourself that you will never get over the death of your spouse.
Avoid alcohol and drugs.
Finding solace in antidepressants, alcohol and drugs will only make your situation worse. These substances can make it difficult to think clearly and make good decisions. They can also lead to problems at work, in finances and in relationships. If you are struggling to cope with the loss of your spouse, seek help from friends, family or a counselor. These people can offer you support and advice during this difficult time. Avoiding alcohol and drugs will help you cope in a healthy way and get through this difficult time.
Let yourself go at your own pace of letting go.
Allow yourself to grieve, because your emotions are important. The healing process may be slow, but you are getting there.
Do what you can without rushing the healing process, as forcing it to end sooner will most likely result in incomplete healing.
Talk to a mental health professional.
Discussing your inner thoughts and feelings with a professional can help you understand and process your emotions.
Can a widow or widower turn the page?
Mélanie’s story is an example of many others who have gone through the same situation and are still with us with a smile on their face. Remember that you are strong, you are able to overcome all hardships and you live in hope of making your late husband or wife proud of you and your achievements.